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What did a woman who lived 75,000 years ago look like? – DW – 05/03/2024

What did a woman who lived 75,000 years ago look like?  – DW – 05/03/2024

A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge and Liverpool managed to recreate the face of John Moores. Neanderthal woman He lived 75,000 years ago.

Through the meticulous work of collecting and assembling the bone fragments, a team of archaeologists and restorers reconstructed it. Skull The woman was found in a cave in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2018.

The results reveal new ideas about Neanderthals and reevaluate the concept of a crude and unsophisticated species.

A model called the Schneider Z

The process began in 2018, when archaeologists from the University of Cambridge discovered a skull. Neanderthal model They named him Shanitar Z after the cave where they found him.

A later inquest concluded that she was a woman of about forty at the time of her death.

Shanidar Z was part of a group of five specimens found behind a large vertical rock in the center of the cave, which served as an indicator that Neanderthals buried their dead in the same location.

Dr Emma Pomeroy, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Cambridge, was one of the people responsible for the research. Image: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Subtle operation

Emma Pomeroy, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of Cambridge, explains that extracting Shanidar Z remains was a very delicate operation. The bones and surrounding sediments must be reinforced in situ with a glue-like material before being extracted into several small pieces wrapped in aluminum foil.

In total, about 200 skull fragments were assembled in the Cambridge laboratory, creating a real “3D puzzle”, especially as the researchers defined the fragments as “like a cookie dipped in tea”.

Once reconstructed, the skull was 3D printed, allowing two renowned paleo-artists – Dutch duo Adri and Alphonse Kennis – to reconstruct its face using layers of regenerated skin and muscle.

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This work is shown in the documentary “Secrets of the Neanderthals”, produced by the BBC and broadcast on Netflix this Thursday (05/02/2024), and describes the process these researchers went through from their discovery to reconstruction. Features of this species disappeared 40,000 years ago.

Pomeroy said, though there are significant Differences between Neanderthal skulls and ‘Sapiens‘, this is not the case with highly similar faces.

“It may be easier to see how interbreeding occurred between our species, and almost all people today carry Neanderthal DNA,” he said in reports collected by several other institutions.

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